The National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) has promised to address the serious problems regarding the growing illegal timber treatment industry by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
The South African Wood Preservers Association (SAWPA) met with NRCS officials and a Department of Trade and Industry representative in November last year and a range of issues were discussed, a recent SAWPA newsletter reports.
SAWPA pointed out − as it has done repeatedly in the past − that the NRCS has not effectively regulated illegal timber treatment and trade, to the detriment of consumers and the legal timber industry, and should be urgently addressed. They also said the NRCS needed to overcome its own capacity problems soon.
SAWPA pointed out that the NRCS needed to address its own capacity problems soon.
The NRCS management representative agreed to try and find solutions and implement resources to address the serious problems by the end of March.
The representative agreed to engage with senior levels of government agencies, including the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to collectively police the illegal activities.
The possibility of an awareness campaign by major stakeholders was also discussed and the NCRS agreed to release media releases, including those SAWPA has already developed in several languages. SAWPA has also launched two Facebook postings, aimed at Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal, in an effort to highlight the problems and educate users on how to spot illegally treated timber and avoid supporting the illegal trade.
The NRCS stated if they were not ultimately able to regulate, they would acknowledge this but only as a last resort.
“This is a problem that needs serious attention, and we still doubt the effectiveness of the NRCS to manage the situation,” said Bertus. “However, we will give them the benefit of the doubt, to see what results have been achieved in the first quarter.”